Monday, April 18, 2016

Let the Sunshine In!

Spring is finally here! Thanks to a week of glorious sunshine, it's warm enough to throw the windows open and let the fresh air in

A gift of flowers from a friend was just the impetus I needed to freshen things up with a new table scape.

This quilt is nothing fancy, just a simple nine patch made with muslin, scraps, and basic cross hatch machine quilting, like make-do utility quilts of the Depression era.

But its colors catch the light in such a lovely way. It's always nice to have something "quilty" to look at. Happy Spring!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Lincoln Memorial

Today is Presidents' Day and a good opportunity to share this tiny tribute to Abraham Lincoln. My friend Barb made it for my February birthday a couple years ago. Barb’s love of history and collecting Americana has inspired her to make several quilts featuring U.S. presidents.

It's a miniature medallion quilt, about 8"x10", with a portrait of Lincoln in the center.

I wonder if Barb had Ford’s Theatre in mind when she selected fabrics for each border or was it coincidence how closely they resemble the infamous scene of Lincoln’s assassination?

like the rich red carpet and brocade upholstery,

and heavy swag draperies of the Presidential Box.

The back of the quilt is a riverboat scene.

Incidentally, there's a connection between Mary Todd Lincoln and our little community of Batavia, Illinois. Ten years after her husband's assassination, she was deemed mentally unstable and committed to Bellevue Place, a rest home and sanitarium just blocks from my house.  Her stay was brief, a mere four months, but long enough for Mrs. Lincoln to earn a prominent spot in local lore.

Monday, October 5, 2015

A Spiritual Gift

“If you are a craftsman…only look at your tools, your needle, your thimble…your scales, your measures, and you will find this saying written on them… ‘My dear, use me toward your neighbor, as you would want him to act towards you with that which is his.”        Martin Luther

When our family joined Rejoice Lutheran Church, new members were encouraged to assess their spiritual gifts and how they might be applied in service to the congregation. It came as no surprise that my talent was for liturgical art. I used my sewing skills to create banners for worship.

That was years ago, and my days of “making” are over. Nevertheless, I've felt a calling to contribute just one more banner to church ~ bold, colorful focal point for the sanctuary (see below), a lively compliment to our jubilant style of worshipa piece that would engage the congregation on a deep spiritual level for years to come.

I had no specific plan in mind, just a persistent urge to somehow make it happen. When I saw my friend Wanda Hanson's latest series of colorwash quilts, I knew exactly what I wanted!

If you follow Wanda’s blog, Exuberant Color, you know what a remarkable artist she is ~ a genius with color and design, who blends fabrics from her palette of thousands, into extraordinary bursts of color.

Unfortunately, Wanda does not do commissions. Like many of us, she prefers working on her own projects at her own pace. But at some point, my "calling" became her "calling" too. Wanda viewed the banner as an opportunity to share her God given talents with others.

3" x 6" rectangles of luminous batiks,

356 of them,

each a different color and print!

Wanda with her beautiful work.

The banner could not be a more perfect backdrop for worship at Rejoice.

"Let There Be Light" Genesis 1:3 
69" x 93"
double click to enlarge

Monday, August 31, 2015

Reality Check!

It’s been a long, lazy, uneventful summer… I’ve been sleeping a lot, reading too little, not writing at all, and taking way too much comfort in my own complacency. MS will do that to you when you start to think, “Is this as good as things are gonna get?”

I forgot that MS can still pull the rug out from under me at a moment’s notice, which it did a couple weeks ago. I haven’t had an exacerbation in years, so didn’t recognize the signs (severe pain in hands, wrists and arms) until my left hand (my only functional appendage) suddenly stopped working. That got my attention!

Three days in the hospital on IV steroids has restored function to my left hand. I can scratch my nose now, give a feeble wave, feed myself finger foods, type o-n-e  l-e-t-t-e-r  a-t  a  t-i-m-e with a pointing device on my computer, use the TV remote, and even hold a cup of coffee, if I’m lucky enough to get one. 

I've been assigned a series of challenging hand exercises to practice daily. Hopefully they’ll make me strong enough to erase “complacency” from my vocabulary and live each day with more purpose and intention. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

A Perfect Cup of Coffee

I love a good cup of coffee. Brew it strong. Serve it in my favorite mug with a splash of milk and a spoonful of sugar. I’m happy. 

What could possibly make it more pleasing? How about a colorful Mug Mat? It’s like a “pick me up” for my morning “pick me up.”

My friend Mary made mine from a vibrant array of half inch squares, tiny little pieces, almost too small to use. Isn’t it fun? Thanks, Mary. I'll raise my mug to you each time I use it!

Monday, April 20, 2015

What Goes Around, Comes Around

I’ve reached an age where the only thing I want for my birthday is not to be reminded of it, unless, of course, it’s with a birthday quilt from Barb. For that, I’ll admit to each and every one of my 59 years.

Imagine my surprise, when I opened Barb’s package this year, and found a block I’d given her for her birthday a few years back. “Wait... What?” It took me a minute to process that the block was now beautifully finished and back in my hands.

The pattern is from Applique with Folded Cutwork by Anita ShackelfordBarb echo quilted it by machine, with silk thread in the traditional style of Hawaiian quilting. Such lovely work!

The backing fabric represents Barb’s old stomping ground, New York City.

Barb, I'm humbled by your thoughtfulness. Thank you for your beautiful gift!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Happy Easter!

Easter blessings, Passover greetings, Happy Spring!

About this time each year, I 
remember an Easter  project I’ve always wanted to try. The trouble is, think of it at the last minute. It actually takes several weeks of preparation in advance.

What I had in mind was an Easter basket filled with live grass and a display of bunnies and chicks, colored eggs and candies, all nestled amidst the fresh green sprouts…

a springtime vignette, like you’d find inside those panoramic sugar eggs we had as kids. Cute, huh?

Convincing my husband to help with crafty projects like this is the tricky part. His willingness to humor my flights of fancy goes only so far, and generally does not include arranging porcelain figures into whimsical tableaux. Fortunately, an Internet search for “Living Easter Basket” helped validate my request. "See? It's not a silly idea. Come on, it'll be fun!" 

So, three weeks before Easter, Jim planted grass seed in an old basket. Within a week, the tender shoots began to sprout. By Easter, the grass had filled the basket entirely and was practically ready for a trim. Perfect timing! 

I’ve paired my Easter basket with a basket quilt, made from blocks I won at a guild raffle, way back in 1987. You may recognize the pattern from Fons and Porter’s book, Classic Basket Patterns, 1984 (out of print).

In any quilt block exchange, there are always a few blocks that don't meet the standard size. I used them to make a pillow…

and label for the back of the quilt.

Raffle Baskets
36" x 51"
machine quilted by Stover Quality Quilting